Set in stone(dust)

line of demarcationI need to remember that permanence is pretty relative when it comes to anything in the garden (or blog). Digging sod to make garden beds is like setting up a new wordpress theme – one can always change it back – especially if one still has the pile of sod clods resting near the compost or a few hours to waste. Laying in stone dust and placing pavers has much more of a I-only-want-to-do-this-once sort of a feel to it.

tread carefullyBluestone dust is a pretty cool thing. I had no idea it was so attractive even just on its own and if I had known it was so cheap I probably would have used it to set in the busted concrete pavers in the front/sideyard garden. But those are staying put so far so, to be honest, I’m not regretting my somewhat lazier methods there. This weekend we hefted almost a yard of the dust into the backyard garden to set in slate roof tiles along the bed edges and future lawn/no lawn border.  I don’t recommend using roofing slates as edgers unless, like me, you happen to have picked up a slew of them for free. None of them are perfectly flat and they are all perfectly brittle so step a little sideways and they’ll flip back onto the lawn no matter how many (15) minutes I spent setting each one in just so. But who cares. For now they’re nice to look at and when they all break into bits, they’ll be easier to tread upon. From dust to dust…

Working on this project permanentifies my master plan in a much more tangible way and of course I’m second guessing every decision. But what fun would this tiny garden be if I didn’t want to constantly tweak the permanent parts of it? Do you make impermanent master plan decisions too?

Mission control

Star magnolia - my favorite rescue plantI almost succumbed to the everybody’s-doin’-it peer pressure of making room for a dedicated vegetable bed in my garden this year. Instead, I’m probably the only person on the planet who is not planting arugula. And I’m totally ok with that because now I have a plan.

At work we have a mission statement (preserve, educate, inspire, yada-yada) and a master plan in the works. At home it was the debacle of the nicotine patch/grave site bed that made me realize I needed to develop a mission and a master plan for here too. (Only I’m not going to seek grants to pay professionals many thousands of dollars to draw something up.)

It was when I started thinking about my garden’s mission that I remembered that vegetables are not really my thing. They’re too much work. My garden’s mission is much lazier than that. I want it to be beautiful – there should be a place for every orphaned plant that comes my way – including whatever pretty vegetables – and anything that causes me to bust out the wallet because I can’t possibly live without it. There should be very little lawn because I don’t enjoy mowing. It should not cost much because I don’t have much to spend. I want to sit in it with a book or a bevvie in my paw and feel like the weeding can wait. I want it to be visible from the road and welcoming. I want it to be a habitat, not a yard. Yesterday a kid passing on a bike called to me – “Nice garden!”, he said. That’s what I’m talking about – that’s my mission.

As for a plan…  No matter how much I want it to be a gorgeous tour worthy grown-up garden now, the seedling trees that will provide shade and a feeling of enclosure have years to grow and we don’t have the money for every major project so we’ll pick one at a time – a vine arbor for the deck, first – and save the others for later. Lawn eradication will be a process of years too but I’ve made some strides in determining what stays for the dog’s sake and what’s slated to go. I know it’s important to live in a place for a while before making major changes but indecision was making me crazy. With a mission in mind, I can see the garden more clearly now. – And I have a better idea of what I want to see.

truck full of foundation plants

new bedsThis weekend I took out the last of the horrid foundation shrubbery on my hit list; Z and I filled up the truck and came home again from the dump with an enormous load of town compost (free). With that, I made two new beds with the lazygirl lasagna method and enlarged and amended others – I have plenty of room now for a growing collection. I had my soil tested this spring and am low-lead-level free to graze so I’ll be sure to tuck in a few good looking veg in the established beds and ride on the bumper of that bandwagon too. (Everybody’s doin’ it.)

Does your garden have a mission?  Do you have a master plan? (-Does it keep changing?)